2021 ENGAGE Student Experience

By: Caitlin Jones, 10th Quarter UWS Doctor of Chiropractic and Sports Medicine student

With everything going virtual, the American Chiropractic Association’s annual conference ENGAGE 2021 was no different. In past years, people would fly from all over the country to Washington, D.C. for a long weekend conference to meet with their representatives on Capitol Hill to advocate for the chiropractic profession and take pictures in the middle of the night at the Lincoln Memorial. Though I missed the opportunity to meet and network with chiropractic physicians and students in person, I was still able to make those meaningful connections virtually! There was a mix of pre-recorded sessions and Zoom discussions. For me, being the legislative representative for the UWS Student American Chiropractic Association (SACA) chapter, it was wonderful because I was still able to watch the cool sessions that I normally would have missed for a very long business meeting. And trust me, I really did not want to miss Dr. Howard’s session on “Treating a concussion beyond the adjustment in a chiropractic practice!” I was even able to watch it a week after the conference since we have access to the sessions for a whole month. Next on my list is to check out Dr. Ortega’s session titled “Reframe the brain to rethink the pain” – yes please!

Though we missed out on my favorite part of advocating on Capitol Hill, they still held a discussion giving everyone an update on the Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act. We were able to gain some additional support before the new Congress took over, which means that this year we should have an easier time moving this legislation forward. I am honored to announce that I was selected to be the vice legislative chair for SACA National Executive Board (SNEB), so you will definitely hear more about our progress! The ACA is currently working on reframing the bill, but it still keeps to the core of updating Medicare from the 1972 limitations on chiropractic physicians – which still states chiropractor as “he” – that’s how outdated it is. If you want to keep up to date with what the ACA is advocating for – check out www.ACAtoday.org.

Though there were a number of amazing things about ENGAGE this year, my favorite part actually had to do with the UWS community. Though we missed out on socializing in person, eating some great food and exploring my old stomping grounds (I lived in the D.C. area for 12 years), the UWS SACA Chapter was named the 2020 SACA Chapter of the Year! I was honored to be able to work with Danielle Pettet, Leah Dash, Carlee Thomson, Kailey Koopman, Katrina Parsley and Sierra Zinke under the guidance of Dr. Gary Schultz. It was a tough year with COVID changing all of our initial goals, but our wonderful UWS community helped us by attending our events and keeping us motivated. Thank you all so much!